Having been removed as leader of his beloved Russian fighter squadron, the Falcons, Johnny ‘Red’ Redburn is curious. What is this ‘all-Russian’ secret mission the Falcons are on and why has been forbidden to take part?
However, he now has a more pressing problem: he has to shepherd a bunch a new pilots who have cannon fodder written all over them!
This issue was always going to be the litmus test when it came to my near unreasonable love of this series. To say the first issue captured a memory of the old British war comics I read as a young ‘un is entirely accurate. I was concerned that my fandom was driven primarily by what the comic reminded me of, and not the comic’s quality.
Thankfully, my litmus test was passed with flying colours. Pun intended.
The third issue is every bit as good as the others, and with the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia finally being ignored, I’m able to look at this comic for what it is: a damn fine war comic.
Keith Burns’ art has been consistently great for the entire series, and this issue is no exception to that. There isn’t as many double page spreads in this issue, (which reading the review pdf I was thankful for) but when they were used for the flying scenes, there was a real sense of freedom given. Which when you look at the more line heavy, almost claustrophobic paneling of the ground scenes you get a sense of just where these pilots feel happier. As nice as the art is to look at, it wouldn’t mean anything without the superb writing of Garth Ennis. After all a pretty comic with bad writing isn’t worth your time.
A nice touch that has been included with the issue is the added history lesson at the end of the comic that details the truth behind some of the events, characters, or squadrons that you may have just read about. It’s not required reading, but for those who are interested it does add an extra level of investment to the story.
Johnny Red is, for me, the best non-superhero book on the racks right now, and it’s one that I firmly believe you should be checking out. Whether you love this series as much as I do, however, is a question that only you can answer.
Writer: Garth Ennis Art: Keith Burns
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy
Titan Comics provided a FREE copy for review, but I’m still buying it anyway.
Also posted on Graphic Policy.